Wretched Little Birds

European Starling

“In some ways, we will always be different. In other ways, we will always be the same. There is always room to disagree and blame, just as there is always room to take a new perspective and empathize. Understanding is a choice.”
Vironika Tugaleva

What wretched little birds we are, capable of such great things yet cruelty is such a part of our dizzying human dynamic.

We can’t all agree upon everything. It’s apparent that this is true especially with so many people all simultaneously casting their opinions on this spinning rock of ours.

We see it daily.

This one gets offended over that. That one gets offended over this. And in the same breath you can sit back and laugh because you wouldn’t be offended at either. But be sure you’d know someone who would be.

On this great sphere, with people as her prism, the world reflects much diversity.

It’s a hypersensitive world we live in now, with people’s tolerance for anything they consider offensive at an all-time low. But this is being played out in a very violent way, with very dire consequences.

Just days after yet another act of violence against one particular community where Jewish elders were gunned down for no other reason than hatred, and a now foiled bomb plot brought on by the same, we still continually hear nothing but disagreements over disagreements.

We argue for the sake of arguing, and we solve nothing.

We complain about how much we complain, and become frustrated from being frustrated. And we kill or threaten to kill others over disagreement. How sad a people we are, often acting unworthy of this beautiful life we’re so graciously given.

We are the conflict, and never the solution.

If trends may become habits, perhaps this is one we should learn to break, and to avoid altogether. But avoidance here is not the solution. We must confront the truth of the matter, and that is we must agree to disagree. To live and let live.

But only through altruism, compassion and tolerance will we find our way.

I learned a great truth a long time ago over a simple differing of opinion, albeit in a very innocent way.

Once my father bought a pair of binoculars. It was a small set from a Sports Illustrated catalogue. They weren’t the most powerful of lenses, but they enabled me to widen my enamored view of the world to a much greater degree.

At the time I was obsessed with bird watching. I checked out books on birds from the library. I sought them out and chased after them. And I learned the hard way that you can spend hours with a piece of bread in your hand and a bird will never even consider coming near you.

My favorite bird at the time, as I lived in plains of Oklahoma, was a Starling. At the time I was simply fascinated by the colors, nevertheless it was one of the birds I enjoyed watching the most.

Then a day came when I was sitting in class at school and my teacher spotted my bird book. She asked what I was doing with such a book and I told her I was bird-watching. She then asked me what my favorite bird was and so I told her, a Starling.

My third grade teacher then proceeded to tell me how awful and wretched Starlings were, and that I shouldn’t have any reason to like them at all. She spoke of how they lay waste to her barn with droppings, make nests and destroy her garden, and that scarecrows wouldn’t keep them away.

With a scowl, she told me that there was nothing “pretty” about them.

No matter what she told me, for me, it was the first time I can recall where I’d found something I looked upon as beautiful and another person passionately suggested I should hate it.

And the only reason was, because she didn’t like them.

Though this experience was easily shrugged off by the 7 or 8 year old me, the lesson has stayed with me my entire life; that no matter what you enjoy, believe in or are passionate about, there will always be someone who dislikes it or outright hates you for doing it.

And so it has continued throughout life.

I dislike slanderous artwork while many others love and collect it. Just as there are many who appreciate our veterans for protecting our freedom, there are also a great many who hate them for doing it and see it as wrong. No matter the example, the point remains true.

We are ALL different, and so are our opinions. So speak your truth as honestly as you can, because someone somewhere is bound to hate you for doing so.

Different we may be, yet these differences of ours can be resolved in handshakes and compromise, or they can fester and boil and bring forth the hatred of men’s hearts, a sad truth we’ve seen time and time again throughout history.

But how are we as a species to survive if we cannot disagree and leave it as it is?

There will come a day when basic arguments will no longer be tolerated. And when our values and opinions can no longer be debated with civility, this will be the day that grace has left the Earth.

We should all be willing to learn of our neighbors’ loves and passions, to understand why they feel as they do. Instead of forcing our beliefs upon others, perhaps we should enlighten ourselves first.

Save your judgement for yourself, and learn of the beauty that lives within all things.

Even if it is a wretched little bird.

 

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I am an artist, writer, author, philosopher and lover of nature and life. My blog offers a glimpse into my world, my thoughts, my sphere. Enjoy!

16 thoughts on “Wretched Little Birds

  1. God created all things in His image. Perhaps the world needs to learn that differences can be okay. If everyone was the same, wouldn’t we be boring? We don’t need to worry about anything, including our ability to not be offensive to others. I agree that the world has become hyper-sensitive. It’s not what we would have imagined it to be 100 years ago. I even doubt our founding fathers would have believed this is what the world has come to. It’s sad, truly. I think, we have lost our right to free speech when everything had to become PC as to not offend others.

  2. Beautiful piece of writing Jeremiah! I was just thinking the same thing today as I cursed the starlings for upending the seed feeder (again!). And the thought came into my head, “So you just like things that are pretty, small, cute, is that it?”. It’s so good to nip these thoughts of intolerance in the bud, so that they do not become words, or worse still, develop into acts of hatred. Thanks for the reminder. Anita.

    1. Thank you! And yes, even the smallest intolerance is often overlooked because we are so used to it being a part of life. It’s always nice to stop and just be aware of these thoughts. All the best to you!

  3. Once we understand as human beings that there is no such thing as THE TRUTH. There is no right and there is no wrong. Then it might become easier to understand and appreciate someone else’s truth about a fact of life. It might become easier to appreciate someone else’s picture of the tree that you like so much and that picture being very different than the one you just finished yourself. You like the Starling and paint a picture, your teacher does not like the Starling and paints a picture. Who is right and who is wrong?

    1. There is nothing wrong with disliking what others enjoy, and that is a truth that some simply don’t understand. However, saying that “there is no right and there is no wrong” is logically unsound. By that logic alone, one could say raping and murdering a small child is not wrong.. when in fact, it’s horrific and very wrong. Only a sadistic mind could appreciate that truth.

      1. You seem to focus on morally right vs. wrong. I am very much with you on extremes. I use this phrase to get people out of right and wrong mode type thinking. Though I do not see any way in my limited mind to ever justify a rape, I can draw situations where I can justify putting force on someone, if it is only to protect myself or others. I always see the need to look at the more complete picture of a situation. With a small enough scope, I will find it not justified to step on an ant and kill it, though I have to admit I do that probably every day, several times without knowing. Looking at the situation, I might find the killing of an ant still very wrong. For play and for joy for example. Me walking in the woods, I do the same “killing of an ant” but I understand why this is hardly objectionable.
        Looking at the same tree, 20 people will draw that tree 20 different ways, and tomorrow the same 20 people will draw the same tree in yet another 20 different ways. all of these are different. Which picture reflects reality? the same 20 people write a description of that tree, two days in a row. 40 different versions are now up for debate. They are all correct and all are different. I am trying to show that there is an infinite number of different ways to look at one simple thing and describe it. Once we get to human interactions and situations 2 or a 100 have it becomes even harder.
        In life everything is complex and everything is connected. A broad brush is not my tool of choice to decribe it. Who am I to say this is right and this is wrong. —- That is where this statement comes from.
        Thanks for listening to my rambles.
        Stefan

      2. I understand what you’re saying. And this is exactly the intention of the post, that we must understand and accept other viewpoints, that they are all different and cannot be viewed the same by anyone other than ourselves—whether a bird, a tree, a piece of artwork or a mass shooting. These are all experienced and interpreted differently.

  4. “No matter what you enjoy, believe in or are passionate about, there will always be someone who dislikes it or outright hates you for doing it.” 👌 I love Starlings too.. and thanks for sharing such a thoughtful post!

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